This article was published 14 years ago

Apple missed the boat on Apple TV

The revolution could have happened today but Apple CEO Steve Jobs continues to treat the Apple TV as a “hobby device” instead of becoming a cable-killing device.

The only item that got the wow-factor was the size of the new device; 80% smaller than the previous device. Expected new features include Apple’s A4 processor chip and only has an ethernet, power and HDMI port on the backside.

The ability to use your iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad as a remote to control and send what you’re watching on a small device to our Apple TV connected to a bigger screen is something that many TV manufactures and set-top boxes need to start working on. Many people would like to have a truly, universal remote that’s easy to program and not terribly expensive (Looking in the vicinity of Logitech).

And just like a late-night infomercial, all of these features plus Netflix streaming, same-day DVD and TV rentals and more; all for the mere price of $99.

Actually, $99 should be another wow moment. Apple could have left the price at $200 and it will still be cheaper than the DVR cable box. Two hundred dollars is a one time fee. Cable customers have to RENT, not own, the DVR box and it’s not cheap: $11.99 for monthly service and $5.25 to rent the box itself is what Cox cable subscribers pay monthly. Over a one year period, Cox subscribers pay $208 a year! Tell me again how is the cable DVR box free?!?!

But sadly, this is were Apple TV goes from being revolutionary to a plain, boring set-top box.

Apple TV could have been the ultimate device to kill the monthly cable bill; why Apple decided not to move in that direction will be an answer we may never know.

What was missing: a TV tuner. If one can’t be added, at least allow third-party TV tuners the ability to write software to the device. While a TV tuner might have been impossible, a major letdown followed at the end of the Apple TV presentation: where was the TV app store that everyone was talking about? Did the TV and cable networks kill the Apple TV app store because people would cancel cable?

The content industry knows not to be on bad side of Steve Jobs because they know they make money on the iTunes store and Jobs can delete those companies off of iTunes. Apple makes little to no money on the content sold in the iTunes store and it’s not in the best interest that NBC Universal, Viacom, News Corp. and Turner broadcasting dictate to Apple what to add or what not to add to a device.

Even without the app store, don’t be surprised if an app store does come to Apple TV. But judging by the opening comments made by Steve Jobs when he said about the 1st generation of Apple TV that  it has “never been a huge hit” but the company listened to those that bought the device and tried to improved it.

With the “never been a huge hit” comment, the Apple TV will remain a hobby device; which is a shame because unlike the iPhone, the Apple TV is a revolutionary device.